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Ship is Sunk in Aegean Storm by Own Cargo; 230 Missing, 49 Picked Up

PIRAEUS, Greece, Dec. 8 (iP) -Loosened from its moorings by a pounding Aegean storm, a 16-ton refrigerator trailer became a monstrous battering ram that tore open the Greek car and passenger ferryship Heraklion and sank it in 15 minutes, survivors said tonight.

Officials said 230 persons were missing and presumed drowned. Of the 281 persons aboard, rescue ships reported they had picked up 49 survivors and two bodies by nightfall, 16 hours after the 8,900-ton interisland ship went down. 

"Doors Were Smashed"
Surviving crewmen told of I trucks and cars wrenched from their fastenings and smashing loading doors that already had been weakened by huge waves. They said the worst blow from within came from the refrigerator trailer that crashed open a bow door, letting in the gale driven waters.

The Heraklion was making an overnight crossing from the Island of Crete to the Athens port city of Piraeus. Nicholas Stambolis, chief of the' Greek harbor authority and head of, the rescue operations, said there were 206 passengers aboard and 75 crewmen a total of 281 persons.

Rescue ships told of a towering wave, churned by 70 mile an hour winds, smashing steel plates of the Heraklion.

"We Are Sinking"
It was two hours after midnight when the vessel sent a last desperate message: "We are sinking, help us."

Antonios Gofas, 23, a crewman who worked on the auto deck, reached Piraeus among 20 survivors brought in by the Finnish freighter NunaLath. 

All were brought off on stretchers, their faces black from oil, bruised and their eyes burned from salt.

Crewman Dimitrius Economou, 41, said, "I saw women jumping into the sea everywhere around me."

"Gone in 15 Minutes"
Anoonis Kambouris, 21, one of two crewmen rescued by the British minesweeper Ashton, said: "The blow that finally broke  open the loading door was from a refrigerator trailer up front. I was asleep when the alarm sounded. I awoke and took a lifebelt and jumped into the sea. In 15 minutes the Ship was gone."

"Began to List"
One of the officers, Alexandros Stefadouros, 40, said: "The ship began to list. The alarm was sounded everywhere. We watched her continue to list badly. When there was nothing more to be done I jumped into the sea.

"In 15 minutes she went down. God knows what happened to the captain."

The first rescue ships into Piraeus carried no word about the fate of the captain, Emmanuel Vernikos.

"Water Pouring In"

Chief Mate Nikos Theodorakis, 33, said he was on the bridge when he heard the alarm sound. He raced below decks.

"Water was already pouring in," he said. "Automobiles were piled up to one side of the ship in the forward quarter. The heaving of the ship had snapped their retaining stays.

U. S. Warships in Search

"I had not time to get a lifejacket on. I went over the side. For 10 boors I clung to an oar until I was picked up."

Three units of the United States 6th fleet--the carrier, Shangri-La, the cruiser Columbus, and a destroyer joined the search for survivors before dusk and remained on night search with Greek warships.

Typaldos Brothers of Piraeus owners of the Heraklion, identified the only non-Greek passenger aboard as John Rowlands, 40, of Scotland.

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